Our Commitment to Equity & Inclusion

 

Homes First understands that being a housing provider is integrally linked with issues of equity and social justice. We acknowledge that we have been slow to elevate equity as a core organizational value of our nonprofit. We can and should do better.

We recognize that exclusion and displacement are woven into the history of American housing programs. The foundation of providing housing, is a vehicle through which institutionalized racism consolidates power and furthers inequities. Today, communities of color and under-served communities are disproportionately burdened by the adverse impacts of land use, housing accessibility, and environmental policy decisions. By failing to acknowledge these inequities in the past, we play a role in perpetuating them in the present.

We also recognize that our organization does not represent the current diversity of the South Puget Sound region. If we wish to remain relevant, grow more effective, and garner broader support for our work, we must become more culturally responsive. Solving the daunting challenges facing our industry will require new ideas, collaboration, and unique perspectives. A more diverse, inclusive housing movement is a stronger, more innovative movement.

Moving forward, Homes First is firmly committed to becoming a more culturally responsive organization.

Specifically, we are committed to:

  • Fostering an inclusive environment; embracing differences and ensuring that any individual or group feels a sense of belonging; feels respected and valued, and feels a level of supportive energy and commitment from others so that they can do their best work.

  • Developing an equity lens through a deep analysis and recognition of the role past efforts have historically played in creating barriers to equitable housing. We commit to applying this lens to our policies, practices, and procedures, and to removing barriers to access.

  • Engaging local communities of color in decision-making, and working on building deeper relationships. We will work together to identify barriers and organizational intersections.

  • Training our staff on inclusive communication and interrupting oppression. We are also committed to providing education and awareness around institutional racism, as well as historical and persisting inequities pertaining to housing, land ownership, and environmental impacts within our service area.

  • Actively supporting policy priorities benefiting diverse communities and communities of color. When we consider supporting housing policies, we will work to acknowledge and better understand their equity implications.

  • Maintaining a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee that is active and provides continuous learning opportunities, and holds the organization accountable.

  • Shifting our staff and board to be more representative of the growing diversity of people in the South Puget Sound region.

  • Serving as a resource for other housing groups, knowing that we are imperfect and that we have a long journey ahead of us.

  • Taking risks and challenging ourselves in this area.

Homes First

5203 Lacey Blvd SE

Lacey WA 98503

(360) 236-0920

Homes@HomesFirst.org

Special thanks to our founding partner

Olympia Federal Savings

© 2020 by Homes First

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